The Commission on the Status of Women is proud to announce four Honorees and two Young Women of Excellence will be inducted into the 2024 San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame on March 8, 2024.
A leader in economic development, a long-time public servant and community advocate, a co-founder of CoastPride , an advocate for mental health equity, and two teen leaders will be inducted into the 2024 San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame, the county's premier showcase for women* who make a difference every day in our community.
"We are very excited to honor four extraordinary women and two youth at our Women's Hall of Fame," shares President of the Commission Susan Kokores. "This iconic event is celebrating its 40th anniversary and we are thrilled to recognize the talents, contributions and vision of these women who improve and strengthen the community for all of us."
About the 2024 Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees
Below is a brief summary of the inductees' achievements. Greater detail and photos are available on the 2024 Women's Hall of Fame webpage.
Rosanne Foust, President and CEO of San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA) has built SAMCEDA into an influential and highly regarded inclusive association with membership of Fortune 500 corporations including technology, life sciences, financial services, energy, construction, as well as healthcare, education and non-profits. She facilitates, directs, and encourages conversations important to maintaining a strong local and regional economy, attracting and retaining major employers and good jobs, and creating partnerships between business, government, education, labor and non-profits to address the critical issues of an economy that lifts everyone.
Ms. Foust had a twenty-year career with Alsace Development International USA, Inc. She also served for twelve years on the City Council in Redwood City, including as Mayor and Vice Mayor. Ms. Foust served for 10 years on the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (five years as Chair) and as an inaugural board member for 7 years on the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority.
Dr. Maria Lorente-Foresti is a bilingual, bicultural woman who immigrated to the United States from Argentina and has called the San Francisco Bay Area home since 1978. With a rich professional history spanning three decades, Dr. Lorente-Foresti has stepped into many roles, including psychologist, Behavioral Mental Health Program Director, parent education program coordinator, and behavioral health equity director. In her current role as the BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity Director, Dr. Lorente-Foresti spearheads efforts to enhance the County’s public behavioral health system to be more culturally responsive and inclusive for San Mateo County workforce and community members. Driven by a passion for equity, advocacy, collaboration, compassion, and cultural humility, Dr. Lorente-Foresti feels honored and privileged to contribute to advancing behavioral health equity for marginalized communities in San Mateo County. Beyond her professional achievements, Dr. Lorente Foresti enjoys getting to know our local cities and takes pride in being a single mother and living in a multigenerational home.
Christine Padilla, born and raised in San Mateo County, has spent her career at the intersection of service and government working to improve women and children's lives. She is currently the Director of Build Up San Mateo County, a countywide collective impact initiative that preserves, expands and improves the supply of child-care facilities. She has also been a nonprofit executive director, a senior congressional staff member (for 10+ years), and a corporate government relations director. She served three terms on the San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women and is currently serving on the County's Child-Care Partnership Council. She is co-chair of KQED’s Community Advisory Panel working to ensure diverse community voices are represented throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Christine is committed to making high-quality early care and learning accessible and affordable for working families while supporting and advocating for those who teach and care for their children.
Jenny Walter is a founding member and former board president of CoastPride, serving Pescadero through Pacifica. She was the first co-chair of the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission and during her five-year service, the Commission conducted a county-wide needs assessment of LGBTQ+ residents and promoted the establishment of the San Mateo County Pride Center. She served as a task force member on the Coastside Recovery Initiative. She served as counsel to the California Tribal Court-State Court Forum at the Judicial Council. Before that she was directing attorney of Legal Advocates for Children and Youth in San Jose and staff attorney at Legal Services for Children in San Francisco. She presently serves as a tribal appellate judge for the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition and law partner at Hedger & Walter, LLP, which is committed to helping tribal courts and nonprofits achieve their vision to serve their communities. Jenny graduated with a degree in linguistics from U.C. Berkeley in 1982 and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law. She lives with her wife, Deb, and daughter Jessie, along with two dogs, one chicken, one canary, and one mini-pig in Half Moon Bay, California.
Catalina Gonzalez Johnston is a senior at Half Moon Bay High School living in Pescadero, California. She has been member of the leadership team since her sophomore year and has served two years on the Cabrillo Unified School District Board. She also has been a volunteer member of the school site board. She really loves interacting with students from different social groups and backgrounds. One of her roles is to learn what they want to see in their school environment and culture and bring it back to the board. She strives to integrate their feedback into the planning of events and other community-based activities for the students in the district. She loves to learn more about representation and was able to go to Girls State last summer. There, she spent a week as part of a big group reenacting California legislation. She also participated in the city hall educational seminars focused on local politics. Catalina comes from a bilingual bicultural home with her dad, who is from Guatemala, and her mother, who is from California and her 16-year-old younger sister. She has three dogs, three cats and a cow. She would like to learn more about policy and immigration so that she can grow to become an advocate for immigrant rights.
Maya Thompson is a senior at El Camino High School. She recently received the National African American Recognition Award for her strong academic performance on the PSAT and Advanced Placement exams. Outside of school, she has volunteered as a tutor for Project Speak Together, an online tutoring program that helps Ukrainian students learn conversational English skills. Through her volunteer work, she improved her students’ English literacy and worked to foster an environment where students felt comfortable sharing their experiences during the war. Currently, she volunteers for the organization Cancer Kids First, which aids child cancer patients globally. She is a part of their arts program where she creates and decorates cards for child/teen cancer patients. Over the past eight years, Thompson has studied piano technique and performs for the community annually at Golden Gate Park’s Flower Piano event. She also works as a gymnastics instructor for preschool students where she teaches them gymnastics skills and helps improve their motor development. In the coming year, she plans to continue her efforts giving back to her community as she completes her senior year and enters college in the fall.
This year’s event is proud to recognize our sponsors – the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Skyline College, and the County of San Mateo. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about sponsorship or program advertising.
March 8 is International Women's Day and we wanted to honor this day with the Women's Hall of Fame ceremony. The event will be held at 4:00 p.m. on March 8 at Skyline College's Farallon Room (San Bruno, CA). Tickets may be purchased on Eventbrite:
For more information about the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, please visit the Commission on the Status of Women website at https://www.smcgov.org/csw. A new website featuring all honorees and their biographies is at SMC Women's Hall of Fame - Explore the Women who made History.
About the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame
In 1984, the Commission on the Status of Women established a permanent Women’s Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding women for their contributions to the well-being of San Mateo County. Impartial judges selected from outside the county read the numerous nominations with names redacted to ensure a fair and unbiased process, before selecting the finalists. The women are honored for their outstanding contributions to their profession, their generous work as volunteers, or both.
In 1992, a second category, “Young Women of Excellence,” was added to the Women’s Hall of Fame. Nominees must be high school juniors or seniors or the equivalent. The award aims to give visibility to young women’s accomplishments in community service, academic achievement and acts of courage in their daily lives.
About the Commission on the Status of Women
The Commission on the Status of Women is a non-partisan advisory body to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors that seeks to improve the quality of life for women of all ages in San Mateo County. Through strategic partnerships and collaboration, the commission identifies women's needs, advises the board of supervisors, and educates the community on matters concerning women. More information is available at https://smcgov.org/csw.
* “Women / Girls” refers to gender expansive adults & youth (cis, trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and gender queer).
Press Contact: Tanya Beat, Director of the Commission on the Status of Women
email@example.com | 650-363-4467